Why Gasworks is your Midsumma hotspot for the festival’s 2020 iteration

Why Gasworks is your Midsumma hotspot for the festival’s 2020 iteration

Words by Jakeb Smith

Gasworks will once again be the southside hub for Midsumma, Melbourne’s premier celebration of queer arts and culture.

The diverse program features visual art, performance, and workshops spread over the arts precinct’s theatres and galleries.

Kicking off the program is the one-woman play, Queen Bette, devised by Peter Mountford and actress Jeanette Cronin. It tells the story of Bette Davis’ fight for artistic independence against the powers that were in Hollywood, a fight that won her two Oscars, four husbands, and a venomous reputation.

Also featured on opening night is Cabaret Abnormal’s Jinxed!, which returns by popular demand after a highly-acclaimed debut at the Melba Spiegeltent. The self-proclaimed “delectable creepshow” features energetic circus and burlesque acts performed with a live band and a whole lot of vaudeville sass.

Taking circus in a more introspective direction is Casus Circus’ You & I. Dancers and creative directors Lachlan McAuley and Jesse Scott use trapeze, acrobatics and dance to illustrate an intimate relationship of love and trust between two men.

Gasworks is also set to feature the Victorian premiere of award-winning play The Campaign, by playwright Campion Decent. Directed by Peter Blackburn, it relays the real-life events that unfolded after 100 people were arrested in Tasmania in 1988 for petitioning to reform the state’s draconian anti-homosexuality laws.

It will be a much more one-sided affair when Melbourne’s daggiest dad’s, Mark, Gavin and Keith sit audiences down for comedy company PO PO MO CO’s latest sketch show, Once Upon A Drag Storytime. Devised and performed by the aforementioned dads (Lily Fish, Hallie Goodman and Kimberley Twiner), the show is physical comedy for the whole family that still manages to be effortlessly outrageous.

A far subtler performance will be the reading by 2019 Playtime Award-winner Angus Cameron, of his new work, Cavemen. It tracks the lives of four gay men as they cross paths around the world in search of something seemingly indescribable. Another not-to-be-missed play is Adam by Francis Poet, which chronicles the journey of a young trans man as he flees death in his native Egypt to find sanctuary in Scotland.

A similarly tear-jerking evening can be had with When the Light Leaves by Citizen Theatre. The four-hand play, written by Rory Godbold and directed by Jayde Kirchert, tells the story of Dan, a terminal brain cancer patient, who is trying to decide how he wants to end his life. Despite being supported by his partner, sister and nurse, Dan must ultimately face the reality of his own mortality and waning control alone.

A raucous and sexy circus spectacular guaranteed to be totally out of control, is BIG Glittery SH!TSHOW. The winners of the Gasworks 2019 circus showdown, Jack Wilde and Shona Cona, employ cupcakes, dildos and various states of undress in an energetic show that never slows down.

The final work to be performed at Gasworks will be a preview of comedy musical Girls Are Hot by the Green Room Award-winning team Flesh Coloured Panties. This female-focussed tale looks at the roles women play inside and outside their queer communities.

So there you have it. Another year, another diverse and exciting line-up of acts at Gasworks for Midsumma. Make sure to grab your tickets early as performances will sell out.

Midsumma takes over Gasworks from Tuesday January 21 to Sunday February 8. Grab your tickets and find out more about the program at gasworks.org.au.